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Bf109E-1 Identity


fishplanebeer
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With the new SH E-1 version now safely en route from Hannants I plan to build it as werk number 3367 of 2/JG52 shot down on the 12th August at Mays Farm but have a quick question regarding it's identity.

 

All the references I have confirm it as 'Red 14' and that the devil emblem was only carried on the port nose section, however a future release by Everest Model (EMD7201) shows it as 'Black 14' instead, so which is correct? The Everest sheet also shows it having an all red spinner whereas all other references refer to the back plate being dark green, and all the photos I've seen do suggest that the back plate was indeed a different/darker colour, so have Everest got this wrong as well?

 

My rudimentary understanding of Jagdgeshwader markings tells me that as the aircraft had no symbol aft of the fuselage cross it is from I/Gruppe and that 2 Staffel had it's numbers in either red or black (the latter with a white outline) so feasibly both red and black could be correct.

 

Also if anyone can point me in the direction of any photos of the starboard side showing the nose that would be a great help.

 

Regards

Colin.

 

Ps. Hannants currently show this spuriously as an Xtradecal release and I've previously never heard of Everest other than for double glazing.

 

Edited by fishplanebeer
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Funny that the official reports state the "14" but not the colour (unless I once again missed something) - they should've thought about which pain they'd ease 80 years later 😉 

I wouldn't dare guessing from the pics, as the 14 "appears" just like the Balkenkreuz behind it, and the one clear shot from the nose backwards doesn't suggest a two-colour spinner (to me), but spinner, devil, 14 and cross all do not look tonally different to me. As far as I can make out, the white outline to the 1 is only visible on the cockpit area close up.

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1 hour ago, tempestfan said:

Funny that the official reports state the "14" but not the colour (unless I once again missed something) - they should've thought about which pain they'd ease 80 years later 😉 

I wouldn't dare guessing from the pics, as the 14 "appears" just like the Balkenkreuz behind it, and the one clear shot from the nose backwards doesn't suggest a two-colour spinner (to me), but spinner, devil, 14 and cross all do not look tonally different to me. As far as I can make out, the white outline to the 1 is only visible on the cockpit area close up.

It was utterly stupid by the Germans not to supply an LDv.521 with full color chips to every police station in the UK. And it would have been even wiser not to start the war before color film was in widespread use.

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I think there is some valid argument to go with black for the fuselage numbers.   In this photo the "1" is clearly darker than the devil, and one can see both the bow n' arrow are darker, as is the outline of the caricature.   Image quality is not constant though,  with the left side being brighter and the extreme right is shifting darker:

 

 while7-saunders.jpg

 

Concerning the other two middle squadrons from II and III Gruppe JG52, they are both reported as having black number codes. 

 

The two crash reports found in the provided links from @72modeler do not specify black or red for the 14, so is there a third report?   There is a starboard view in the recent photo archive book of the 109 from publisher Wingleader.  It confirms no devil image on that side.  Interestingly, they do add the Luftwaffe pilot claimed to be from 5th Staffel, which adds confusion as this machine has no horizontal bar symbol.  Maybe he was just filling in the roster of 2nd Staffel for that day?

 

regards,

Jack

Edited by JackG
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2 hours ago, Jochen Barett said:

It was utterly stupid by the Germans not to supply an LDv.521 with full color chips to every police station in the UK. And it would have been even wiser not to start the war before color film was in widespread use.

But even then still we'd probably argue whether that Staffel was supplied with enough RLM 23, or used a RAL 3xxx paint, or a French substitute, or stocks of Roundel Red found on the advance through Northern France...

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It is curious though, if the use of 'Red 14' in all the various photo captions and published texts, is actually based on a physical written crash report,  which is yet to be identified here.  Or, was it  a colloquial description of the aircraft that has remained constant through the years - Red Devil, (Red  or Black) 14, condensed to just Red 14?

 

regards,

Jack

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Given the absence of any marking/symbol after the fuselage cross I'm pretty confident that the machine was from 1 Gruppe and also 2 Staffel as well, although quite which unit the pilot came from is perhaps less clear. Based upon the photos it's reasonable to assume that the '14' must be either red or black (with white outline) as it clearly isn't either white or yellow, so confirming it to be from 2 Staffel.

 

All references I have refer to the machine as 'Red 14' including Section 1 of the BoB by Mombeek but it is possible that an original error or assumption has been taken as correct and perpetuated in all subsequent books on the subject as often happens. However that said I'd have thought by now that there would have been at least one reference to it being black given the sheer quantity of material written about the BoB but to date I've never come across such a claim. As for the spinner colour it could be all red or the backplate could have been kept as RLM70 as this practice was not uncommon so I'm still undecided about this.

 

Regards

Colin.

 

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Mr. Postlethwaite wrote,  "From what I remember when working on our Me109 Units part 2 in the WPA series, the Second Gruppe of JG52 didn't carry the horizontal bar, hence the confusion, but it was definitely 5./JG52."

 

The II/JG 52 only began using a horizontal Balken at the end of the summer of 1942, when they received their first Bf 109G-2s.

 

HTH, GRM

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spacer.png

 

Starboard view, the 14 appears lighter than the fuselage cross.

 

spacer.png

 

Spinner back plate appears slightly darker than cap, possibly RLM71 with red.  Note that wing cross extends onto leading edge slat.

 

spacer.png

 

Another shot of the starboard fuselage, 14 appears as dark as the fuselage cross.

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Just when I thought I was reasonably comfortable with the identity of 3367 my further investigations have now made me far less certain and decidedly more confused as a consequence.

 

At the risk of labouring the point my understanding has always been that I Gruppe had no symbol/number after the cross, II Gruppe had a horizontal bar, III Gruppe had either a vertical bar or horizontal 'squiggle' and that each Gruppe had 3 staffel, 1-3 in I Gruppe, 4-6 in II Gruppe and 7-9 in III Gruppe. So far so good but if as is confirmed II Gruppe didn't have the bar then how were they differentiated from aircraft of I Gruppe?

 

That is only for starters as I checked the Wingleader book on JG52 and it lists all the Staffels numerically but starts with 3 staffel down to 9 with no mention of either 1 or 2 so did they exist, and if not why not? It does however refer to 3367 as 'Red 14'.

 

I then checked the Luftwaffe order of battle in 'Battle Over Britain' (Mason) and 'To Defeat The Few' (Dildy & Crickmore) which confirm that JG52 only had two Gruppe, I and II plus I.(J)LG2 so what happened to III Gruppe? And if JG52 didn't have a III Gruppe which Gruppe were staffels 7-9 in and which staffels were actually in its I Gruppe?

 

It would appear that JG52 for some reason did not conform to the standard practice and structure of Gruppe and staffel as how else could it have had staffels 7, 8 and 9 but no III Gruppe and also have no staffels 1 and 2?

 

Yet if we return to the Wingleader book again there is a further twist as it only identifies JG52 as having Gruppe II and III but no Gruppe I which not only directly contradicts the two books I've already mentioned but raises a further question of which Gruppe was 3 staffel in?

 

I'm almost beginning to regret asking my original question now as I had no idea just how irregular and confusing this might become, so apologies if this is all getting rather convoluted.

 

Regards

Colin.

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FWIW,

The late Michael Payne was fortunate enough to have been able to see and note the colours and markings of many of the 109E's which were brought

down over SE England during the B of B and used these in his creation of the many profiles which he created for numerous publications over the years.

In referring to his notes and drawings (which I am fortunate to have copies of) he  clearly identifies the 14 as having been red.

 

Incidentally, the wings in the second last posted image in Vonbrauns post may not necessarily have originated from 14.

 

Cheers

Dave

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Just to add more confusion or clarity perhaps, the images in the Wingleader book show the III Gruppe (staffel 7,8 & 9) aircraft as having the accepted horizontal 'squiggle' so maybe JG52 didn't have a I Gruppe after all and that would have allowed II Gruppe to adopt the I Gruppe practice of having nothing after the fuselage cross. Of course I'm purely guessing here and it would mean the two books I have referenced are both wrong, plus it seems all very non-Germanic in terms of having a unit that did not conform to the uniform structure that all other units had to follow at this time (no offence intended or implied).

 

Still doesn't answer the question as to why it didn't have a I Gruppe or a 1 and 2 staffel but this is as far as I can go with this unless there is a Luftwaffe expert out there with a more detailed knowledge and understanding of the history of JG52 and its organisation.

 

The good news is that Dave has given a pretty definitive answer to the question of was it red or black so in modelling terms I'm now very pleased to have all the correct information I need.

 

Regards

Colin.

 

 

 

 

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I don’t know if Mason’s book was ever updated, but while the original was the final word at the time, that was 50 years ago and subsequent research may have superseded pieces of his data.

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@fishplanebeer, unless these pages are missing, check your Wingleader Photo Archive Number 4 book again.  Pages 56-57 has 1./JG 52, and page 58-59 has 2./JG 52

 

After looking further at book references (Osprey's JG 52 and another publication on Luftwaffe Emblems):

 

 I Gruppe has all three Staffel carrying the running boar with a tri-coloured shield behind it - established around August 1939

II Gruppe  did not use a Gruppe emblem as above, but instead chose to have each staffel with their own emblem design.  With this setup, not necessary to carry the horizontal bar symbol

III Gruppe  used no emblems at all, but did carry the wavy bar to signify third gruppe.

 

So with the above, now can understand  why "Red 14" has no second gruppe marking on the fuselage rear.

 

Interesting history for JG 52 during the BoB time frame:

- July 22 1940 ,Geschwaderstab is joined by III Gruppe at Coquelles.  

 Operations were disastrous and lasted only 10 days, before the third gruppe is pulled out.

 

- 2nd August, I Gruppe arrives at Coquelles, operational until last day of October when sent home to rest

- 6th August II Gruppe arrives (but pulled out 18th August.  Returns to operations on Channel Front Sept. 25th, pulled out Nov. 5th.

 

 

 

regards,

Jack

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I must confess I do not own the Wingleader book in question and was referring to the sample pages on the units structure which I'd assumed were complete but clearly did not include the preceding pages that do cover I Gruppe, so humble apologies. It is now clear that 3367 was indeed from 5/JG52 and why British intelligence at the time assumed it was from 2/JG52 instead. 

 

As for the Mason book the details are the same as in the very recent publication 'To Defeat The Few' so they would still appear to be correct and the fact that III Gruppe were pulled out by the beginning of August also explains why it was not listed in the order of battle for mid August in both books. 

 

Apologies again for repeating the confusion originally created back in August 1940.

 

Regards

Colin.

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Colin, no problems there.

 

I did find it interesting to discover how rough a going JG 52 experienced during that summer of 1940,  at least mostly their second and third gruppe.   Eventually (according to wiki) the unit would become "... the most successful fighter-wing of all time, with a claimed total of more than 10,000 victories over enemy aircraft during World War II."

 

regards,

Jack

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I'm surprised about JG52 being the top scoring unit of all time, my money personally would have been on JG26, JG27 or JG2 but then again my knowledge of Luftwaffe fighter units clearly needs improving!

 

Thanks again for solving the enigma of my own making.

 

Regards

Colin. 

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The dark colour on the lip of the air intake was discussed here back in 2018.   It did not end with definite explanation, but it seems for whatever reason, that was a factory supplied part that usually was left in it's original colour, even with a repaint of the aircraft.   The engine cowls quite likely were removed to be spray painted, but that filter part remained attached to the engine and was not bothered with?

 

regards,

Jack

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Found a second source in book form, that attributes the subject in question as "Black 14".   It can be viewed as a pdf sample here, page 63:

https://www.scribd.com/document/506905671/Luftwaffe-at-War-Messerschmitt-Bf-109-in-the-West-1937-1940

 

Odd thing, the author is Michael Payne, so hopefully @tango98 can confirm if they are one in the same person.

 

regards,

Jack

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